Pan Pacific Singapore’s $5 housekeeping delivery fee: Why?

Last Updated:

Staying at the Pan Pacific Singapore? Expect to pay $5 for every housekeeping item request, and $3 for an additional bottle of water.

Update: Pan Pacific has removed the charge for additional room delivery and bottle water effective 4 January 2021

About two weeks ago, I did a staycation at the just-reopened Pan Pacific Singapore. While the stay had its moments, my overall advice for those looking to make a booking was: not yet. 

That’s because the hotel, like many others during this period, is clearly suffering from understaffing. This has led to a deterioration of the stay experience compared to before the circuit breaker- a smaller selection at breakfast and in the lounge, longer wait times at reception, and reduced operating hours of certain facilities, to name a few. The Pan Pacific Singapore is clearly capable of excellence, but hasn’t quite figured out how to deliver it with the new constraints. 

Pan Pacific Singapore atrium
Pan Pacific Singapore atrium

But while I’m sympathetic to their current predicament, there was one specific aspect I found particularly egregious- the imposition of a “delivery charge” for additional housekeeping items. I mentioned this briefly in my review, but I think it’s worth highlighting in more detail. 

Pan Pacific Singapore’s S$5 delivery fee

Pan Pacific Singapore has introduced a digital concierge system to handle basic requests, such as facilities reservations and in-room dining orders. Guests can also request additional housekeeping items via this platform, but that’s when the following message pops up. 

Pan Pacific Digital Concierge
Pan Pacific Digital Concierge

In case you can’t read that, it says (emphasis mine):

“In order to ensure smooth service, we have set the in-room amenities according to the registered guests upon check-in. Please note that any additional requests will be subject to a delivery charge of SGD 5 nett. Requests for additional bottled water is chargeable at SGD 3 nett per bottle.

That’s pretty unprecedented for a 5-Star hotel. What this policy basically says is that should you need anything extra- a spare toothbrush, an extra towel, more coffee pods; you’ll have to fork out S$5 for the privilege of having it sent to your room. 

Now I understand the hotel is shorthanded, but I still don’t see why this is necessary. Wouldn’t a simple “we’re working as hard as we can to fulfill your requests; please allow additional time for delivery” do the trick? Quite frankly, it comes off as inhospitable, almost as if guest requests are seen as a nuisance, rather than an opportunity to provide great service. 

It’s not even clear how this delivery fee would apply to things like the pillow menu- if I’m taking advantage of something that’s meant to be a feature of my room, will I be charged S$5 too? What if I order a bottle of water? Do I pay S$3 for the bottle, plus a S$5 delivery charge? And what if I’m simply requesting for something that should have been in my room, but was overlooked? For example, during my stay I noticed that housekeeping had not restocked the tea bags- is it fair that the guest be charged in this situation? 

Missing teabags
Missing teabags

Now, obviously there are some out there who abuse the system and request extra toiletries to bring home, or because they’ve sneaked in more guests than permitted. I have very little sympathy in those cases, but imposing a blanket S$5 fee per request (1) won’t stop such people- what’s S$5 when you get to avoid paying an additional guest fee/booking an additional room (2) acts like a system of collective punishment that penalizes everyone. 

If someone asks for extra soap, it doesn’t mean they’re trying to restock their bathroom at home. If someone asks for extra towels, it doesn’t mean they’re hosting a party in their room. There are perfectly innocuous reasons for such requests (maybe their kid spilled something on the floor), and they should be fulfilled for free, within reason

“Within reason” means applying common sense and judgment, but it’s not rocket science. If a room makes repeated requests for shampoo, toothbrushes, toilet paper and coffee pods, you shut it down. If a room makes a once-off request for shampoo, you accommodate them. It’s basic hospitality. 

In any case, the system limits you to a maximum of two items per request, so it’s not like someone could use this to start building their own pharmacy empire.

Pan Pacific Singapore’s response

Pan Pacific Singapore
Pan Pacific Singapore

I reached out to the hotel to learn more about the delivery policy, and was told the following: 

The delivery fee is for per delivery (regardless of the number of items). Our apologies that due to an error, it was indicated as per item during your stay. This has since been amended.

This is similar to the charge we impose during special event dates such as National Day, to manage the high volume of room service requests and which is similarly practiced by other hotels as well. Alternative arrangements have also been made for guests to collect selected items such as additional crockery and cutlery from Pacific Marketplace, our restaurant on Level 1.

First of all, I’d dispute the assertion that this is “practiced by other hotels as well”. I’ve heard of hotels charging delivery fees, but this relates to in-room dining requests and not requests for housekeeping items. I’ve certainly never seen a 5-Star hotel charging S$3 for an extra bottle of no-brand mineral water, or S$5 to have a towel sent to your room. 

Second, I don’t understand why alternative arrangements can be made for the collection of cutlery, but not housekeeping items. If you’re facing a manpower crunch, why not ask guests to come to the front desk to collect them? I mean, it’s still not what you’d expect from a hotel of this caliber, but if you’re willing to do that for cutlery I don’t see how this is any different. 

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think the S$5 fee is intended to generate extra revenue for the hotel- it’s a token sum at best. But what I’m quite convinced it’s meant to do is dissuade guests from making requests. And while I’d be much more understanding of such a policy at a budget hotel, this just doesn’t gel with the Pan Pacific’s 5-Star positioning. 

Guests are already paying Pan Pacific prices; should they really be nickel and dimed for housekeeping items? It’s like the hotel is saying “we’ve given you everything you need for your stay, now don’t bother us anymore and see you at check-out.”

Conclusion

With the ongoing manpower shortages, there’s no doubt that hotel staff are feeling the crunch. But the hotel isn’t doing them any favors by imposing policies like this- if anything, it’s the front line associate who has to deal with irate guests asking why they’re being charged for a simple service request.

If hotels were genuine about improving the experience for guests and staff, they’d take steps to limit their occupancy to a level commensurate with the manpower at hand. When we see five hour queues at check-in, or hotels selling rooms without pool or gym access, it suggests that management is prioritizing packing in as many guests as they can, regardless of the toll on experience or strain on staff. 

A S$5 fee isn’t going to break the bank for anyone who can afford a staycation at the Pan Pacific Singapore. But it is going to leave a bad taste in their mouth, and what are the odds they become a repeat guest? One simply doesn’t expect to see this sort of policy at a place like this, and there’s got to be a better way of resolving whatever it was meant to address.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

Similar Articles

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

16 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Cloin

Its the prerogative of the hotel to charge for such services. 5 stars hotels in some big cities in the States charges USD10 per item/parcel received on guest’s behalf at their front desk. Its a services each hotel determined to charge their customer, the customer can choose to stay there or not.

Don

well looks like you’re happy to pay if it was charged to you 🙂

asprino

the inconvenient truth is, for most staycay guests, they are considered by local hotels (probably correctly) one-off customers and wouldn’t returning when international travel re-open

DK

I disagree with the logic that because some other hotels charge this, that justify our actions as well. The truth is majority of the other hotels (regardless of star ratings and geographical locations) do not charge for such basic requests.

Anyway, that’s why I don’t bother with staycations. My recent experience redeeming the free healthcare hero voucher (won’t name the hotel group and not wanting to sound ungrateful) has convinced me that the local standards are way below international standards.

ZYX

Like it or not, I’d say it’s linked to the country’s personality. Just like you would receive better service in Indonesia or Thailand, Caucasians receive better service here, HK and also somewhere else.

Aaron

Sporean, stay in 5 star hotel, and pay 2 star money, want all the world. Ice, tissue, blanket, pillow, name it all they want. The poor HSKP run like mad dog to send to hundreds of rooms. After check out, room like pig farm. Put yrself in their shoes. Not all but many….

ZYX

I personally am not a Singaporean, but would like to strongly rebut your statements: 1. Paying 2-star price? Definitely no. With so many hotels competing with each other, the price pre-pandemic certainly isn’t astronomical, except on a few special days for hotels near the events (National Day, Formula 1, New Year’s Eve etc) 2. Want all the world? As long as it’s not forbidden by law or house rules, the guests are definitely entitled to do so, as long as they agree to pay for some of value-added services (e.g. corkage, additional bed, special room decoration, bonquet, etc. In fact,… Read more »

Alian

The problem here is that they are using yesterday’s management practices in today’s new normal. Been to a few staycations and I’m at Conrad now and the service and quality is quite abysmal. I don’t this the problem is the staff. In fact I see the team trying really hard but the business model has changed but the management’s mentality is stuck in the past. I know it’s hard but business must innovate and also reinvent themselves and that goes to hotels too. If $5 is their solution well that’s their choice but it is lame. If you can’t manage… Read more »

Nuru

Locals are the worst guest..pay $200+ per night then expect the world to revolve around them. Ask any hotel staff..they prefer to entertain locals or international and 99% will say international. How i know? I was in the hospitality industry for 15years and we always sigh during long weekends cos we know locals will flood the hotel.

Urun

Locals are the worst staff..paid $3000+ per month then expect nothing to be their duty. Ask any hotel guest..they prefer to be served by locals or international and 99% will say international. How i know? I have been a hotel guest for 15years and we always sigh during long weekends cos we know local staff will show black face and roll eyes often.

Ilovefriedchicken

But I do really make the bed, wash the cups and fold the towels before I check out. My friends think its weird but I think its just basic decency. Can you imagine housekeeping coming into a trashed room. Paying for a room does not give you the right to turn the room upside down.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ilovefriedchicken
Urun

The bedsheet and duvet are to be replaced between guests. Cups are supposed to be sterilised. Towels are supposed to be washed and dried. So if you wash the cups and keep the towel back in place, they may think those are unused thus may not replace them, which can become a real hygiene issue. So please, don’t do these.
Of course it’ll be appreciated that guests don’t leave food/drink/body fluid stains on the carpet/duvet/bedsheet etc as they are difficult to be cleaned. And keep trash in the bins.
If you still feel guilty, consider leaving some tips ($2-$10).

Lawrence

Wow. Budget hotel where the tea bags are not even restocked – isn’t that a basic check? And they still dare to charge $5 per delivery.

I wonder is the $3, or $8 per drinking water question asked too. If it was asked, they had not even answered.

WWS

A workaround for more bottled water from the hotel… gym?! https://onemileatatime.com/free-bottled-water-hotels/

Daniel

Alot of self entitled brats over here commenting..after paying merely less than 300 per nite stay. Demanding the world, showing long faces and being rude to the frontliners. SG are the worst lot trust me.

CREDIT CARD SIGN UP BONUSES

Advertisment

Featured Deals

Advertisment

Follow us

7,110FansLike
2,641FollowersFollow

TAGS